Role and Responsibilities of an Obesity Medicine Physician

While a general healthcare provider can offer basic guidance on weight loss but an obesity specialist like Nova Physician Wellness Center brings specialized training and a deep understanding of the myriad factors contributing to obesity. These include genetic, biological, environmental, social, and behavioural elements.

This enhanced expertise in obesity treatment enables the effective assessment and management of health issues related to obesity, thereby reducing the risk of both immediate and long-term complications. To achieve this, obesity specialists undertake various responsibilities, including:

Assessment of Medical History: A holistic treatment plan tailored to your individual preferences and needs starts with a thorough understanding of your background. An obesity specialist initiates this by discussing your health history, focusing on areas like dietary habits, exercise frequency, and previous weight-loss attempts. 

This is followed by a physical examination that measures variables such as height, weight, Body Mass Index (BMI), waist size, and blood pressure.

To gain a deeper understanding of the underlying issues, an obesity specialist may recommend a series of lab tests. These tests aim to identify health conditions either caused by or contributing to excessive weight gain. Depending on individual needs, these tests might include:

– Blood glucose levels to check for diabetes

– Lipid and cholesterol profiles and possibly an EKG for heart health

– Liver function tests

– Kidney function tests

– Thyroid-stimulating hormone levels

– Exercise stress tests to evaluate heart performance during activity

– Hydrostatic weighing

– DEXA scans for bone density

– Electrical bioimpedance tests

– Resting metabolic rate to measure calorie burn at rest

– Anthropometric assessments, which may involve skinfold thickness, limb circumference, and bone measurements

Psychological Counseling: Obesity specialists understand that obesity isn’t a condition that occurs overnight or without underlying reasons. It often results from a combination of poor diet and exercise habits, coupled with mental and emotional factors that make change challenging. To address this, obesity medicine specialists offer counselling that covers a wide range of topics.

Discussions may focus on adopting healthier eating practices like transitioning to plant-based diets, managing portion sizes, and reducing caloric intake. Counselling might also address ways to integrate physical activity into daily life, such as regular walking or using stairs instead of elevators. 

In addition, the specialist may introduce various coping techniques, including stimulus control, positive reinforcement through rewards, cognitive restructuring, and self-monitoring methods.

Creating a Customized Treatment Regimen: After an in-depth review of the patient’s lifestyle, objectives, preferences, and readiness for change, the obesity specialist devises a tailored treatment strategy. This plan may include:

– Customized dietary guidelines through a nutritional plan

– Suggestions for maintaining a food journal

– Recommendations for physical activities, which may encompass formal exercise routines, involvement in sports, and engaging in physically active household tasks

– Information on available support groups and therapeutic counselling

– A medication regimen, if applicable

This well-rounded and individualized plan might also involve consultations with other healthcare professionals, such as dietitians, exercise physiologists, and mental health counsellors.